tv Public Affairs CSPAN November 27, 2012 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
bipartisan support in the house, passing with overwhelming support earlier this year as well as in the senate. passage today will clear the bill for the president's signature. i would like to commend the gentleman from texas, mr. cuellar, for his continued work on this important legislation and being the sponsor of this legislation. the committee on homeland security and congress as a whole benefits from his commitment to border security matters. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. mccaul: mr. speaker, i have no more speakers. if the gentleman from mississippi has no more speakers, i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserve his time? mr. mccaul: i reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi. mr. thompson: i yield such time as he may consume to the author of the underlying measure being considered, the gentleman from texas, mr. cuellar. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is
recognized. mr. cuellar: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank mr. thompson for the leadership that you have provided on this piece of legislation and other legislation that's so important for the security of our nation. i certainly want to thank also chairman peter king also and, of course, my good friend, michael mccaul, chairman mccaul, for being one of the original co-sponsors, along with mr. farenthold. a new member from the bounceville area, mr. faleomavaega, who always worked in a bipartisan way. the jamie zapata, this 915, has received bipartisan support in may when it was first passed by the house. it was overwhelmingly supported by the house. both democrats and republicans. went over to the senate and certainly i want to thank, also, senator lieberman and senator collins for the support of this bill. senator lieberman was outstanding in making sure we
move this as quickly as possible. we have a bill that does two things. first things, enhances border security. and number two is to flame this particular bill in honor of a brave individual that jamie zapata that has given up his life. i know some months ago both chairman mccaul and i had the opportunity to meet with the family, with the mother and father of this strong hero that we got to know in the service of the line of duty. as you know i.c.e., immigration and customs enforcement, along with the u.s. customs and border protection, as well as federal and local and foreign law enforcement has created this initiative. the first best initiative was created in laredo back in 2005. and it's become a model across the country. and this is a comprehensive approach to identify, disrupt,
dismantle transnational criminal organizations that have posed significant threats to the border and maritime security. through investigations, seize years of contra-- seizures of contraband, they are building success. there are 48 units throughout the united states. they work not only with the mexican counterparts but with the canadian counterparts. certainly we want to make sure that congress provides the best support to the best units in order to enhance border security and of course the communities that we have -- that we all represent. so, again, members, i would ask that you all work and support this bill and today, a very appropriate time, we had the new president-elect of mexico that came down here, met with members of congress and i believe at this particular time he's meeting with the president right now. president barack obama, and we look forward working with our
mexican counterparts to make sure that we keep in mind that a secured strong prosperous mexico is in the best interest of the united states. mexico is not an enemy but it is a friend of the united states. and i think both benny thompson has been down to the border and michael mccaul has been down to the border. the rio grande does not unite the two countries but unites us together. also to the family of jamie zapata, losing a son is very, very difficult. and, again, we want to thank the family for providing this strong hero in a we can say jamie zapata was truly a hero of the united states. so members, i urge all my colleagues to support this bill by voting aye on h.r. 915. and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas has announced that he's prepared to close and reserves.
the gentleman from mississippi. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to support the senate amendment to h.r. 915 and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. mccaul: thank you, mr. speaker. just on a point of personal privilege, i know mr. cuellar and i will be embarking at the end of this week to head down to mexico city to the president of mexico's inaugural -- inauguration, and i agree with my colleague that our relationship with mexico is vitally important and the idea the best units have provided an invaluable support on the border in terms of cash and weapons going -- confiscating cash and weapons going into mexico. i can't think of beater program to name after jamie zapata. i will also say on the sembling occasions that i met with agent
avalon and his family, it's been very emotional. to see someone who's come back almost from an operation of war, if you will, who's been shot at at the cartel members, almost going through a ptsd-type situation, a very, very emotional experience. and i wish agent avila and his family the very best in their recovery. very, very brave man and soldier. and also to the family of jamie zapata. we honor you today with this bill and know that you are always in our thoughts and in our prayers. and with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and concur in the senate amendment to h.r. 915. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative -- the gentleman from texas. mr. mccaul: i demand the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays
will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 and the chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. bilirakis: mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 5997, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 5997, a bill to amend the homeland security act of 2002 to codify authority under existing grant guidance authorizing use of urban area security initiative and state homeland security grant program funding for enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge and mass prophylaxis capabilities.
the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. bilirakis, and the gentleman from mississippi, mr. thompson, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. bilirakis: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include any extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. bilirakis: thank you. mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bilirakis: mr. speaker, i rise to support h.r. 5997, the medical preparedness allowable use act, a bipartisan bill which amends the homeland security act of 2002 to make it clear that grant funds under the state homeland security grant program and the urban area security initiative may be used to enhance medical preparedness and purchase medical countermeasures.
i introduced h.r. 5997 after a series of hearings on medical countermeasures and the committee on homeland security subcommittee on emergency preparedness, response and communications. at these hearings we received testimony from representatives of the emergency response community on the importance of stockpiling medical countermeasures in the event of w.m.d. attacks. this includes predeployment medical kits for first responders and their families, similar to those provided to postal workers participating in a national u.s. postal medical countermeasures dispensing pilot program. the grant guidance for the state homeland security grant program and the urban area security initiative currently permits this funding for used to procure medical countermeasures and for other medical preparedness and medical surge capacity
equipment and activities. however, this guidance is developed on an annual basis, and there's no guarantee that these uses will be authorized in the future. to be clear, this bill does not great a new grant program or authorize new funding. it simply ensures that these activities will remain allowable uses under shiscap and usasi. the world at risk, it is more likely than not that there will be a weapon of mass destruction used someplace on earth by a terrorist group before the end of the year, 2013, and it's more likely that this weapon will be biological rather than nuclear. the expenditures authorized and codified by the bill we are
considering today can make a difference in the protection of the public, including emergency responders in the event of such attack and there should be no doubt that grant funding may be used to support them now and in the future. as the chairman of the subcommittee of emergency preparedness response and communications, i consistently find myself in awe of our first responders and the sacrifices that they make on behalf of our public. in the wake of events such as hurricane sandy, i'm committed to ensuring congress does all that it can to support those brave men and women, mr. speaker. i am pleased that this legislation is supported by the emergency services coalition on medical preparedness which works to ensure that we protect the protectors. i ask unanimous consent to
insert their record of support in the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. bilirakis: thank you. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentleman from mississippi. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 5997, the medical preparedness allowable use act and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, although i support h.r. 5997, it is not without reservation and concern about the reduced funding this congress has allocated to important homeland security grant programs over the past few years. due to significantly diminished appropriations, the homeland security grant program, important target grant programs such as the metropolitan medical response system, were consolidated into larger umbrella grant programs such as the urban area security
initiative and the state homeland security grant program in f.y. 2012. i'm concerned that congress' failure to specify a funding allocation for the metropolitan medical response system sends a message that medical preparedness is no longer a priority. h.r. 5997 authorizes the use of funding awarded under the urban area security initiative and the state homeland security grant program to enhance medical preparedness, medical surge capacity and mass distribution of medical countermeasures. all of these activities would have been eligible under h.r. 1411, the metropolitan medical response systems program act of 2011. h.r. 1411, which would have authorized a medical metropolitan medical response system, was introduced by
representative bilirakis and was marked up by the subcommittee on emergency preparedness response and communications last year. i would rather be standing here today in support of h.r. 1411, which would send a clear message that medical preparedness is a fry or the for this congress. -- is a priority for this congress. that said, i will support h.r. 5997 because i understand that grant resources are limited and that state and local governments must have the flexibility to utilize the scarce resources available to improve medical preparedness. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentleman from florida. mr. bilirakis: mr. speaker, i have no further speakers. the gentleman from mississippi, do you have any further speakers? mr. thompson: no, i don't. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman from florida reserve? mr. bilirakis: i reserve.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, despite my reservations about this measure, i encourage my colleagues to support h.r. 5997, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. bilirakis: thank you. thank you, mr. speaker. mr. chairman -- mr. ranking member, we'll continue to work on getting that bill passed. i promise you. my bill -- we worked very hard. as you said, it was marked up in committee and will continue to advocate on behalf of the -- of course, the mmrs grant program. mr. speaker, i once again urge members to support this very important bill that ensures medical preparedness activities remain an allowable use under homeland security grant programs. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 5997, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection -- the
gentleman from mississippi. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 and the chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed. . for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? mr. bilirakis: i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 632 . the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the bill. caller: h.r. 6328, to direct the assistant secretary of homeland security, security and transportation administration, to send unclaimed clothing at airports to homeless vet ran charitable organizations and
other local charitable organizations. the speaker pro tempore: without objection the gentleman mr. bilirakis and the gentleman, mr. tompson, each have 20 minutes. mr. bilirakis: i yield myself such time as may consume. as vice chairman of the veterans affairs committee and senior member of the committee on homeland security, i rise in support of h r. 6328, again a bipartisan bill, a bill sponsored by my colleague, ms. hochul, the clothe a homeless hero act. according to estimates from the department of housing an urban development new york 2011, approximately 14% of all homeless adults were veterans. with more than 67,000 veterans homeless on any given night. unacceptable. we must do all that we can to ensure that the veterans who have courageously served our
country are not forgotten and are receiving the care and services that they deserve. v.a. secretary has set a loudable -- laudable goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015 and established partnerships with other organizations, such as h.u.d., to accomplish this. this will form another port for theship in an efforts to serve homeless veterans, one with the transportation security administration. each day, as americans travel through screening check points operated by t.s.a. at our nation's airports, many articles of clothing are left behind. in fact, t.s.a. reports that they collect between 500 and 1,000 garments per day. h.r. 6328 directs the t.s.a. administrator to make every reasonable effort to donate this unclaimed clothing to
local organizations that serve homeless or needy veterans. i urge members to support this legislation, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentlelady from new york. ms. hochul: i rise in support of this act and yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. hochul: i was at the airport and there was a dust of snow on the ground, i'm hour my colleagues from florida didn't have the same experience, but it does not bode well for the veterans who will be sleeping on the ground outside tonight. it's upsetting to know that 20,000 recently returning rhett rans from iraq and afghanistan will find themselves homeless tonight. that is a national disgrace.
and as all of us rush through airports every week, along with thousands of americans, it's not uncommon for scarves and hats and other articles of clothing to be left behind. i myself left a scarf behind which prompted my thoughts of how to handle this esurplus clothing. it adds unto thousands of pounds of abandoned clothes an wallly. there can be no better purpose than for this unclaimed clothing to help america's veterans. record homelessness has been on the rise among our veterans and this is an unconscionable, untenable situation. as a country we have a moral obligation to do so much more to help this untenable situation. this is one step toward that effort. even if one of our veterans stays warm because of the clothing provided by this legislation, it will have been well worth the effort. the clothe a homeless hero act
direct the t.s.a. to make -- to donate abandoned clothing to charities that serve homeless veterans. it does not prevent local t.s.a. branches from working with a charitable organization if they already have a relationship and it does not cost any money. i chang my colleagues for all their support and urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this bill to assist the heroes who have wons worn the uniform and now have fallen on hard times and need our clothing. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. ms. bilirakis: i have no
further speakers and if the gentlelady has no further speakers, i am prepared to close when she does. ms. hochul: i have no further speakers and i i am prepeared to close. this bill provides -- has borne support. this is an important step to take, particularly with the holiday season approach, ethe cold weather approaching, it's a small thing we can do to help our veterans. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. mr. bilirakis: i urge my members to support this legislation and support our homeless veterans and i yield back me balance -- the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 6328. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended this bill is passed and without
objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. bilirakis: i ask unanimous consent that when the house adjourns today it adjourn to meet at noon tomorrow. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so order. -- so ordered. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a communication. caller: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, in 1995, when i was first elected to the house of representatives, i came to washington with a singular purpose, to serve the constituents of the second district of illinois. during that time, for 17 years, i have traveled on a journey with the citizens of they have second district of illinois and with their unwavering support we have worked together to transform what was once an underdeveloped and nearly forgotten south side of chicago. along this journey we have
accomplished much. we have built new train stations, water towers, and emergency rooms. we have brought affordable house, community centers and health care clinics to those who needed it most. in all, nearly $1 billion worth of infrastructure and community improvement has been made on the south side of chicago and thousands of new jobs have been created. we began this journey by promising fresh water for the people of fort heightsened a new airport that would employ, upon completion, 300,000 people. today, the people of fort heights have fresh out water and sitting on the governor's desk is a $400 million proposal for an airport that will cost taxpayers nothing and only awaits the governor's commitment to build it. while our journey to strengthen our communities and provide a better future for our children will continue, i know that we have made the second district
of illinois a better place. for seven years i have given 100% of my time, energy, and life to public service. however over the past several months, as my health hasdi tieror ated, my ability to serve the constituents of my district has continued to anyonish. against the recommendations of my doctors, i had hoped and tried to return to washington and continue working on the issues that matter most to the people of the second district. i now know that will not be possible. the constituents of the second district deserve a full-time legislator in washington, something i cannot be for the foreseeable future. my health issues and treatment regimen have become incompatible with service in the house of representatives. therefore it is with great regret that i hereby resign as a member of the united states house of representatives, effective today, in order to focus on restoring my health. during this journey, i have made my share of mistakes. i am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my
activities and am doing my best to address the situation respovensably, cooperate with the investigators and accept responsibility for my mistakes. for they are my mistakes and mine alone. none of us is immune from our share of shortcomings or human frailties and i pray that i will be remembered for what i did right. it has been a profound honor to serve the constituents of illinois' second congressional district and i thank them for their patience, words of support and pray that during what has been and will continue to be a trying time for me and my family. i also thank my colleagues and staff for supporting me and the citizens of my district over the past several months. i am proud to have worked alongside each of them over these many years. i know that our work and accomplishments will have a lasting positive impact on our community and our nation. with optimism and hope, elook forward to the day when my treatment is complete and my health improves. i will truly miss serving as a
member of congress and will never be able to fully express my gratitude to the people of chicago for granting me the opportunity to serve them for 17 wonderful years. signed, sincerely, jesse jackson jr., member of congress. the speaker pro tempore: under clause 5 of rule 20, the chair announces to the house that in light they have resignation of the gentleman from illinois, mr. jackson this ewhole number of the house is 433. pursuant to clause 12a
>> on thursday, the house democrats will elect their leaders for the 113th congress. we will have live house coverage in about an hour here on c-span. in the senate, they have been working on the defense authorization bill. harry reid has been talking about the brugget cuts and tax increases and here he is speaking to reporters just after the caucus lunch. it's about 10 minutes. >> we are -- we had a meeting with the four leaders up here at the white house, it went very well. the problem was that was before
thanksgiving. and since that time, there has been little progress with the republic carns, which is a indictment -- republicans, which is a disappointment to me. we only have a couple of weeks to get something done. we have to get away from the happy talk and start talking about specific things. and one month taxes are set to rise for all americans. we passed in the -- we passed in the senate a piece of legislation to protect people making less than $250,000 a year. we have rejected on a bipartisan basis the republicans' efforts to extend the tax cuts for everybody. those are the two majors we have dealt with on the senate floor. if we fail to reach an agreement, the average middle-class family will see their taxes go up by 2,200 a year. as i have indicated, the senate has acted to stop that and the house is one vote away from
making that a reality for many millions of americans. they could have prevented this crisis months ago by simply adopting by what we passed in the senate. we are happy to hear any ideas the republicans have. we recognize there are meetings going on all over town. i'm meeting with my three leaders in the morning, with some business people who are concerned about this, so-called big business and happy to meet with them. i repeat, we only have a few weeks before the end of the year and we must do everything we can to ensure middle-class families are not hit with $2,200 a year in tax increases. >> senator reid, senator said in a speech today that medicare, medicaid should not be part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. should entitlements not be on the table? >> in the meeting i had with the
president and the four leaders, president obama said social security is not what we are going to do on this and i agree with him. there are things that i personally think we can do with entitlements that don't hurt beneficiaries. but i'm not going to negotiate with you simply other than to say that we hope they agree to the tax revenue that we're talking about and that is rate increases and as the president said on a number of occasions, we'll be happy to deal with entitlements. >> the congressional wisdom on a fiscal cliff deal does that include receive news and cuts. you made it clear how you feel on revenues. >> we have already done more than $1 billion worth of cuts, so we need to get credit for that in these negotiations that take place.
>> senator durbin said he thinks that president obama won't include a deal [inaudible] >> first of all, the debt ceiling. we would be foolish to work out something on stopping this from going over the cliff and then a month or six months later the republicans pull the same game as they did before and say we aren't going to agree to increasing the debt ceiling. i agree with the president. it has to be a package deal. what was your other question? [inaudible question] >> there are things we have already taken care of, the first of april and take a look at that stuff. that's not essential.
[inaudible question] >> we can't do anything with the disaster aid package and i'm told it will be tomorrow or the next day. [inaudible question] >> republican, ok. you said what's holding it up? i said republicans. talk to the republicans. it's up to them. [inaudible question] >> i have said on a number of occasions the internet poker bill can move forward if we get 15, 17 republican votes. this stage, we have gotten none. >> you talked to the president over the weekend. are you hopeful, are you optimistic? >> i'm extremely hopeful. and i do not believe that the republicans are going to allow
us to go over the cliff. i hope that's true. it is such a simple problem to solve. we have had experience. we know. we have had the biden-cantor talks, couple of rounds with boehner and obama, bowls-simpson and gray-conrad. and that's doing something with actual tax revenues. as romney proved during the campaign, you can't do it just by doctoring up the tax code. that should be part of the deal. we need to have tax reform. we have to have the people who have done so well during this difficult time we have had with the economy. the richest of the rich will have to pay a little bit more to solve the financial problems we have in this country.
[inaudible] >> right after the senate majority leader harry reid spoke, republican leaders held their own briefing and ways to find a deal and criticized leader reid's plan. this is 15 minutes. >> good afternoon, everyone. as we head into the fiscal cliff negotiations, my advice to the president would be -- seems like our friends on the other side are having difficulty turning off the campaign. we need to sit down and work this matter out. i think we have a clear sense and opportunity here at the end of the year to do something important for the country. we all know that the most critical steps to be taken are to save the entitlements, which
are on an unsustainable path to bankruptcy. there's no better time to begin to fix that problem than right now. so i would hope our friends on the other side can kind of turn off the campaign and get into a cooperative mode here to reach a conclusion. which leads me to make a further observation about how unfortunate it is that the majority leader has chosen to create an extraordinary controversy here in the senate right here at a time when we ought to be encouraging maximum bipartisan cooperation, about threatening to employ the nuclear option, which is to break the rules in order to change the rules of the senate. i hope cooler heads will prevail as we move through the process. we need to be working together. the election was november 6. we won't have another one for two years and it's time to start pulling everybody together as
the american people expect us to do know matter how they voted last november to begin to solve this big problem. >> as the leader mentioned, the issues with regard to the fiscal cliff is pretty straightforward and the president in his press conference shortly after the election stated its his goal and priority, jobs and the economy. ought to be about jobs and the economy. republicans couldn't agree with him more which is why the proposal the president has put forward to solve the fiscal cliff raises taxes on a million small businesses who employ 25% of the work force and an accounting firm has done a study has said if the president's proposal went into effect which is to raise taxes on the small businesses out there that it would cost us over 700,000 jobs and reduce take-home pay by 2% and reduce economic growth by 1.3%. what the president is proposing
to do would hurt jobs and the economy, which is again, i ironic in that the president's only solution to solve our fiscal cliff issue is to raise taxes. in 2010, we had the same debate. the president said you shouldn't raise taxes in the middle of a weak economy. at the time economic growth was 2.4 through the first three-quarters. this year, 2012, that same number is 1.8%. the economy is weaker and slower today than it was in 2010 when the president said you shouldn't raise taxes in the middle of a weak economy. we believe that the president has to lead on this issue. it can't be about raising taxes on people who create jobs in this economy if it is about jobs and the economy. and we all know what drives federal spending in this country is the entitlement programs. and we have seen no proposal from the president when it comes to reforming entitlement programs and getting them on a sustainable path. there is a solution out there,
but so far, the president's only solution is to raise taxes on the very people that we're looking to to lead us out of this economic slowdown that we're in and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs at the same time. >> the president says he is focused on jobs and growth and what republicans are committed to is providing good jobs for working families. and one of the ways we are going to do with the keystone xl pipeline. we joined nine democrat colleagues to write a letter to the president to ask him to meet with us to focus on keystone xl pipeline. these are senators who are focused on getting americans back to work and this is a wonderful way to do it. talking about 20,000 jobs and the additional jobs related to the direct jobs of the pipeline. focuses on energy security, focuses on jobs and allow us to continue to produce goods and
services in the united states. it is something that the president, if he truly is focused on jobs and growth should be embracing today and should not continue to delay. >> at the very time we ought to be finding ways to cooperate and find a solution to the fiscal cliff, i really think that the majority leader has decided to needlessly kick over a hornet's northwest. i like the house. i think it's open that the house function like the house. but it's important that the senate do the job the way the senate is supposed to do. you shouldn't turn the senate into the house and you shouldn't break the rules to change the rules. i don't think anybody has any doubt if they try to change the rules of the ongoing continuous body that the senate is, that the parliamentarian will say that the rules say it takes 2/3
to change the rules and the majority would say, we don't care what the parliamentarian says, we are going to chain the rules any way. in an environment anything that passes the senate without republican votes is unlikely to pass the house. so we are looking at two more years to get to every political vote possible and talk about who is to blame instead of having rules. the three times we followed the rules this year, we passed bills. the highway bill, the postal reform bill and the ag bill, all passed. we said we are going to take as much time as it takes and allow amendments anyone wants to offer and do what the senate does every single time when we did that, we passed a piece of legislation in a bipartisan way. partisan bills that come out of the senate aren't going to go anywhere in the house. at least i would understand there was a governing argument if the majority leader had a
democrat-controlled house and said what we pass here is going to pass over there, so we're just going to pass it with all democrats and do it over and over again. that is not the case, believe me, this is a hornet's nest that makes it harder to get the work done that has to be done and it's foolish to kick it over. >> questions. >> what filibuster reform would you support? >> what ought to be happening, the majority leader and myself ought to be sitting down together to consider whether or not rules changes are appropriate. and if we were to reach an agreement, it would be done in a manner consistent with the rules, which would require 67 votes, which i don't would happen if the two of us agree. it is important to remember that the senate hadn't always functioned like it has the last two years and the rules were exactly the same.
we don't have a rules problem but a behavior problem. and the majority leader has insisted on not allowing amendments, filling up the amendment tree, which of course not only prevents us from offering any amendments that he doesn't agree to allow, but prevents his own members from offering amendments. committee work is irrelevant. members serve on committees. their bills are never brought up. senator blunt mentioned three examples where we followed the normal procedure and all the bills passed. what we need is a majority leader with a different view about the senate, consistent with its norms and traditions. but on the issue of changing the rules, the way that's normally done is the two leaders sit down and see what might be appropriate. i would be happy to do that. that would be a good time to do it looking into next year. >> on that issue, two different things have come up at once, the
fiscal cliff, which you said we need to draw people together. how are the two things connected in your mind, you all are trying to find a way to an agreement to the fiscal cliff. the fact that this rules controversy, how are the two connected? >> if i were the leader, i would feel really good about the election. kept my majority in the senate and the president was re-elected. how can i reach out to the minority, we have big issues that can only be solved on a bipartisan basis, how can i be building bipartisan confidence going into these huge issues that we have before us. the last thing on my list would have been to throw a bomb into the senate, have it blow up and have everybody mad as heck. i mean, i'm just perplexed about the judgment on display here blowing up the senate at a time when the election is behind us. we won't have another one for
two years. turn the election off. bring everybody together and try to solve big problems. but that's a decision that he has made at least for the moment and we'll have to live with the consequences. of course, we want to get an outcome. and we know that the only way we can solve our long-term debt and deficit problem is to fix the unsustainable growth rates of our very popular entitlement programs. the president has indicated an openness to that and now's the time to actually do it. and i hope we can put all this divisiveness behind us and build the confidence and relationships on a bipartisan basis, which would help us get there here at the end of the year. >> the president and leader reid said social security should be off the table. what's your reaction to that? >> all of the entitlements need to be discussed, because they all to one degree or another are
on an unsustainable path. medicare is in more immediate danger. we want to save these programs and i understand the dilemma that the president and the majority leader have. they don't want to change anything. they think any commitment made by the federal government on any program at any time ought to be there forever. well, times change. and until we make sure these popular entitlement programs fit the demographics of the changing america, we can't save them. we all know that. it's simple math. what we have lacked so far is the political courage to do what needs to be done. look, i'm not happy about divided government. republican president, republican senate and republic house. good things about divided government, it's the best time
to do really hard stuff and i'll give you four good examples. ronald reagan and tip o'neill did the comprehensive tax reform. clinton, welfare reform and balanced the budget for multiple years in the late 1990's. this is the perfect time to solve single biggest problem confronting our country and we are anxious to sit down and get the job done. [inaudible question] >> politico, cbs and a number of other news organizations are reporting that bob dole of kansas has been hospitalized at walter reed outside of
washington, according to senate majority leader harry reid. u.s. house will gavel back in in about 45 minutes at 6:30 eastern for a number of votes. they are back tomorrow, but no votes expected tomorrow. they had a little bit of housekeeping tomorrow, republicans take up committee assignments. on thursday, democrats will elect their leadership for the 113th congress and later this week, a bill dealing with making it easier for getting visas for foreign students earning degrees in the u.s. live house coverage when they come back here at 6:30 eastern. a discussion of u.s. energy efforts and the energy policy of the obama administration in the next four years. >> we want to welcome back to our table, president and c.e.o. of the american petroleum institute. let's go back to campaign 2012. the american petroleum institute spent about $868,000 on the 2012
campaign cycle. total contributions, $650,000. contributions to candidates around $220,000. given that you spent a lot on republican governor mitt romney's bid spent more towards republicans, how will this impact your ability to communicate with the white house and the congress? what do you think your relationship will be like? guest: we ran a vote for energy campaign, which was focused on elevating energy to be a top draw issue. we believe was highly successful. both candidates were both giving a full endorsement of oil and natural gas as a key form of energy here in the united states to create jobs and help with our economic recovery. overall, the dollars we spent were not partisan in nature. we weren't supporting one candidate over the other, our candidate was energy and focused
on elevating that conversation to a higher level. that's what we achieved and we feel good about that. in fact, we believe now the president has moved his position almost 180 degrees in a positive direction that says we can be self-sufficient right here in the united states and in doing so create millions of new jobs, billions of new dollars in tax revenue and make us more energy secure and less reliant on outside sources. it was a good expenditure. it wasn't about candidates or individuals but promoting energy. host: did you support governor romney's bid? guest: we don't support individual candidates at all. host: president obama talked about raising taxes for oil and gas companies, are you concerned about that? guest: we think it's the wrong approach. we think the best approach is to allow us to develop the energy
resources from that, develop vast amounts of revenue to the government. many people don't realize the oil and natural gas industry contributes $86 million a day to the federal government. let's develop u.s. resources, put our people to work, create more taxpayers and in the course of that, generate billions and it's estimated $2.5 trillion by 2035 if we can produce america's resources. that's the right policy approach. don't single an individual industry for punitive treatment but focus on putting our people back to work. we pay more than our fair share of taxes. host: process of ex tracting natural gas, fracking, what regulations are coming from this administration? what are your concerns? guest: it is an older technology that has vastly improved over
the past few years. and through our modern technologies made it possible for us to talk about energy security. you may have seen the international energy agency report that said by 2020 if we produce our energy right here in the united states, we will surpass saudi arabia. think of that, that is a big change to make us more energy secure producing our own energy resources. the technologies we use to open up this vast resource as well as oil is called hydraulic fracturing and couple that with horizontal drilling. we can drill at great depths and turn and go horizontally for extended lapses of distance where we can produce oil and natural gas like never before. the states regulate the oil and gas industry. those states where most of the activity is occurring, in pennsylvania, ohio, north dakota and elsewhere have taken action
to regulate the industry and done it appropriately. we support robust regulation. if you go too far, you discourage the very investment you are trying to create. host: the new york governor is about to make a decision on natural gas for his state. what's at stake here? guest: it's very important, one governor who has lagged a little bit and announced last week that his report where it will be delayed and likely not be produced until early next year. we believe we can do it successfully and safely as we have demonstrated over the 65 years we have been using the technology. here is one key factor. we have been using this technology for over 6 years. we have drilled over 1.2 million wells with it and never been a case of groundwater contamination. that's what lisa jackson said. host: here in the "washington
times" this morning, freaking out over fracking. cultural references -- here's a quote. host: can you say it doesn't have any impact on drinking water? guest: we are highly regulated. the industry takes its own initiative to develop the gold standard. we promote that across the industry. governments and regulators will come in and adopt them as a regulatory regime because they are tough, they require high levels of performance and that's the nature of the culture of our industry. we live in those communities. we want more than anybody else to protect those environments. a lot of this is scare tactics by those who oppose the development of oil and natural
gas. we shouldn't confuse the two matters. we need energy. the president has acknowledged that. oil and natural gas provides 62% of the energy we consume today and estimated to provide over 50% of our energy 30 years from now. we are going to need the resource. the question is how do we produce it in a safe and sound fashion to protect the environment and the work force. we can do that. our history shows we can do that and do that in the future. host: millions of gallons of water combined with sand and chemicals to release fuel thinks better public awareness helps their cause. upcoming movie "promised land" which tells about towns ruined by fracking. what is your response? guest: we need to base our conversation on facts. we had outreach to mr. damon
they ought to learn about the industry. that doesn't sell movies. unfortunately we fully expect there will be a lot of half truths and misleading information and we'll respond to it because when you get to the bottom line, when you get to the facts, oil and natural gas is produced safely in this country. we now have the opportunity through these improved technologies to have a significant breakthrough. >> wealth rises in u.s. heartland, energy boosts midwest. some of these rural areas in the middle of the country seeing their unemployment rate down and related to the energy boom in
their states. guest: 1% of our g.d.p. growth in the united states was tied to energy. this recession would have been much deeper but for what the oil and gas industry has done. we have been a job creator at a time of a significant downturn. we like to remind people and look at the state of north dakota. today, they have the lowest unemployment rate in the united states and number two oil producer in the country. median income in the oil and gas industry in north dakota is about $90,000 a person, mean median income for everybody else, $45,000. they have a state budget surplus. last estimate was $1.6 billion in surplus. state budget is only about $5 billion. it's a big deal. it can happen right across the
country. pennsylvania has seen 80,000 new jobs. now moving into ohio. many states not viewed as oil and gas states have the opportunity to participate in this great opportunity to make us more energy secure and create jobs so it's a big deal. host: bob, independent caller, you are on the air. caller: how are you today? let me ask you a question, what about the liberty rig up in prudhoe bay, alaska? isn't it something like they are drilling down 30,000 feet? they stopped it for the last 10,000 because they want to put a damper on the oil in the middle east first before they pop the cap up in prudhoe bay, isn't that true? guest: the shell operations up in alaska. we have been in that permit process for over five years.
invested over $4 billion in those operations and only this summer were they allowed to have a partial drill, if you will, into that region. they now come off those areas and expect to go back in next summer during the summer drilling season. but we have vast resources. alaska is a perfect example, of hundreds of millions of barrels of oil. clean-burning natural gas which i might add has driven our carbon emissions down to 1992 levels without any government regulation. it was done merely because we had an a.m. will supply of clean-burning natural gas. host: dave in denver, colorado, democratic caller. caller: thank you for taking my call. what is the status or set back to the keystone pipeline as it comes into production? what's the approximate
percentage of those petroleum products that will be retained in the united states? guest: thanks for the question. coming from denver, you know you have a great governor out there who is a big proponent of oil and gas development. colorado is one of the models we have in terms of allowing the development to move forward. thanks to you and others out there that support this robust development. on the keystone xl pipeline, we have been disappointed in the president that it hasn't been approved. 20,000 estimated what we see today is hope that the president will approve it over the next few months. our view is that will be one of the first tests as to what he promised the american people during the campaign, that he would support the development of oil and natural gas. many people associate the keystone x.l. pipeline only with canadian production. but they shouldn't forget as i was mentioning just a moment
ago that in fact a lot of that production comes from north dakota and from montana. so we're actually moving domestic product down to the gulf of mexico. it is expected that the vast majority of that production would be used domestically. today we are able to refine and produce all that the country needs and we're actually exporting a little bit. but the more we bring into this marketplace, which adds to the global marketplace, the more downward pressure on prices. so those are all positive developments. again, we're hopeful the president will approve the keystone pipeline. >> and the decision is expected in january? guest: there's no realtime limitation on the president but the president can make the decision today if he'd like to. it's up to him at this point. host: who do you expect will make or announce that decision? will it be the president himself? guest: i think the president himself will make that decision and announce that decision only because it was elevated to his level when he decided to not approve it or at least delay it for some time. host: you have and do you
continue to have direct communication with this white house and if so who do you talk to there? guest: we continue to have an ongoing dialogue with the white house. in fact, right after the election we had outreach from probably three or four senior people wanting to talk about the role of energy. we have an ongoing dialogue as to the appropriate regulatory role, what else we can be doing to help put the economy back on track. so our dialogue continues. we can disagree on policy and we can disagree on the substance, without being disagreeble and that's the approach we've taken. so we have an ongoing dialogue in those areas we can't agree, we just agree we won't agree. and on other areas we can find common ground and we've done that in some areas. we hope to do that moving forward. host: at what level do you have those talks? guest: we're very comfort thabble we have them at the appropriate levels and the highest levels within the administration. host: not going to tell us with whom? guest: i think it's inappropriate. if they want to talk about who they're talking to, that's ok but for us, we'll keep that as
a private conversation. host: all right, a republican caller. are you involved in the energy industry out there? caller: no, i'm not. but it affects us a lot here in bismarck where i live. retail is unbelievable, the building sun believable. rentals are unbelievable. and theaks tends way westward and from where i'm at and also eastward, i've never seen anything like it. i'm 66 years old. and, man, i tell you what, every little town that's been drying up has just totally unbelievable. host: so do you feel like you're benefiting indirectly from this industry? caller: no, not really. not really. i just have good hopes for my state. i'm retired and i'm living like people do when they retire. but nevertheless it's good to
see. i remember a lot of years of poverty and things were not going well and it's almost like a gold rush. i don't know how long it's going to last but it's fantastic. host: all right. guest: i was going to say, as you know, you've seen that did take place in your great state out there. last time i was out, it's just amazing to see what's going on. north dakota today has become the number two oil producer, producing over 700,000 barrels a day. the only state that surpasses them is texas at 1.1 million barrels a day. that's an increase from about 60,000 barrels just a decade ago. so when we look at north dakota, we often use it as the case study of the model saying that with appropriate balance regulation, we can see that case studdy of north dakota be transferred across the country and have many other states become major energy producers. so thanks to you in north dakota. i think the governor's led a good effort out there and
hopefully we'll see that right across the country. put a lot of people back to work and making taxpayers. host: on twitter, can you please mention the amount of taxes these companies pay to feds and reinvestments they make? guest: yes, in response to that, as i mentioned earlier in the show, the oil and natural gas industry contributes $86 million a day to the federal government. we pay billions of dollars in taxes to federal, state and local government and we're happy to do so. our only request is that you don't single the industry out for punitive tax treatment. many people might not realize that the effective tax rate of the oil and gas industry in the united states is one of the highest in the country. we pay at about 44%. the average of all other companies, the standard & poor's industrials, is about 26%. so when we talk about issues like fiscal cliffs, we need to get our budget house in order, we're all for that. as an industry we believe wure leaders in that but we believe policy should be neutral and
should be equitable across all industries and you shouldn't single out individual industries for unfair treatment. so we're anxious to get to the table. we're anxious to talk about tax policy. we believe the corporate rate in the united states is too high. it makes us noncompetitive. we're anxious to see some reform in that area. and anxious to be part and to contribute to the overall recovery of the united states and we believe we're doing that now with job creation and economic recovery. host: some might point to record profits that have been made by the oil and gas industry. is it not fair for them to pay more given the profits that they see? guest: the thing that's important to keep in mind is when we talk about earnings of the oil and gas industry, the reason the numbers are high is because they're very large companies. you think of them in a global perspective, they compete against foreign governments. when you look at our companies here in the united states and everybody thinks, gee, that's a huge company, we're not even the top 10 on the global basis. so when you look at it from a perspective of earnings based
on dollars of sales we fall somewhere in the middle of other companies. companies like apple computer are far more profitable than the oil and gas industry. and yet you don't hear anybody out clamoring to raise apple's taxes, do you? and they shouldn't. because tax policy should be neutral. it should be equitable across all industries, so we have certainty and we know what the rules of the game are. if you have a provision that says, if you invest money for oil production, for the development, for the production of computers or whatever, and you're allowed to recover that cost as part of your cost recovery mechanism, all companies should be treated equally. we shouldn't pick and choose winners and losers we should say, here's the tax policy of the united states, let the marketplace work and allow companies to compete against each other. host: we'll go to will in oregon. an independent caller there. go ahead, will. caller: good evening. thank you, c-span, and "washington journal." i'd first like to recommend book tv, there's a great interview on the real future of
american u.s. energy with jeremy riff ken. he's got -- [inaudible] each of us individuals in energy sufficiency. but that beside, i'm an atmospheric scientist. and with over 35 years of experience. we know in the profession that a storm like superstorm san joaquin is a storm that we have never in the history of meet yoling seen before. we know that it's attributable to global climate change. we also know that that's due to industrial pollution, pluse, mind you, from burning fossil fuels. such as petroleum. so my question for your guest, is this, how much responsibility does the petroleum industry -- is the petroleum industry willing to take for superstorm san joaquin and other climate disasters that are looming on the horizon and the second part is, how do
you morally justify using billions of years of energy accumulation on planet earth for your own individual personal wealth? thank you very much. guest: thanks for the question. let me answer with a two-step approach if i can. the first is a lot of people don't realize, the oil and natural gas industry are leaders in alternative forms of energy. cleaner burning energies, everything from wind power to solar to nonemitting carbon technologies. so we take our responsibility very seriously. in fact, over the past 10 years we've invested more than the federal government has in these different forms of energy and almost the equivalent of what the rest of the private sector combined has. so we take second seat to nobody in looking for the energy future. we're looking at issues that many people haven't thought of before, direct power from sunlight, from alge forms and a variety of others. so first and foremost we understand our role and we're
looking always for new energy forms. we are energy companies. with a vast diversity of forms of energy that we produce and consume and send around the world. the second point which is an important consideration as it relates to climate, as you know, climate has been a discussion in the united states for the past decade or so. today carbon emissions in the united states are at 1992 levels. we have literally led the world in reducing our carbon emissions. now why is that? the first part of that is because the economy has slowed down and that's not a positive as we know. we need to get people back to work, we need to get them -- get the economy recovered. but the second part of it, which is a major contributor, in reducing carbon emissions is for burning a lot more clean-burning natural gas today. it's displacing other forms of energy. that natural gas was made possible because of our modern techniques and technologies, hydraulic fracturing, specifically, where we've been able to produce vast amounts of clean-burning natural gas right
here in the u.s.a. which has pushed the price down from about $13 to $2.50 to $3. that's what has led the effort to reduce the carbon emissions. so we need to look at these questions holistically. we need to understand the interrelationships between various forms of energy and what they emitt to the atmosphere. as an industry we take our responsibilities seriously. we're pushing new technologies, and our development of these new, clean-burning forms of natural gas has led to lowest emissions we've had in many years. host: in doha, qatar, the 18th yukeses -- united nationses climate change conference is taking place. opening ceremonies today. a new round of climate change talks beginning. and from this story at the nation it says, the governments have been -- the developing countries have been specifically asked to focus on essential tasks ahead, deliver agreed outcomes and take further steps in the global response to the climate change problem. what are your concerns with
this? what do you think will come out of this? guest: i think the first thick that should happen is the united states should go over there with their head held high and say, look what we've done in the united states. look what clean-burning natural gas has done to reduce our carbon emissions in a very significant way. at about 20-year lows or back to where we were 20 years ago. that's the first thing we should talk about. too many people expect to have an answer immediately and just flip the switch and go from here to there overnight. you can't do that in energy policy. it took us 100 years in this country to get off wood as our primary form of energy. we need to be thoughtful how we make this transition and focus on realistic goals and aspirations to develop cleaner-burning forms, to manage the current energy we consume in better ways. and that's what we ought to be talking about in doha. host: is it true that the oil for the pipeline will go right to the global market which means the people will still pay -- people in the united states will still pay what we pay now?
guest: let me back up. oil is set on a global market basis. so the price of oil, of crude oil, in any given day is dernled -- determined by global factors. in response to the question, if you talk about the global market, yes, the united states is part that have global market. but the important thing to remember is the international energy agency pointed out just a few weeks ago, the united states by 2020 could surpass aud rabe as the number one -- saudi arabia as the number one oil producer in the world. anything we produce in the united states contributes to that global marketplace and thus puts additional supply into the market, thus pushing the price down. that's the reason we believe part of the solution here is to focus on the united states, produce our own energy right here, the same time create well paying jobs and new taxpayers and make us more energy secure. if we can produce it right here at home we're going to be better off. it does go into the global marketplace but the more supply you have, the fundamental laws
of supply and demand take place, and that price comes down. host: we'll go to maryland. democratic caller. caller: first of all, oil companies and gas companies, big companies, they want to suppress solar. that's why they own so many solar companyless. second, these fracking companies, they don't want to be open with the chemicals that they're using in fracking. they hide the chemicals that they're using. if you think you can pump chemicals into the earth and that's not going to come out into your water supply, you're living in a fantasy world. thank you. guest: let me add a few facts to that comment, if i can. first of all, the industry owns many forms of energy production. why? because it makes good energy policy. we should have a true all-of-the-above that includes solar, winds, reknuble forms in addition to oil and natural gas, coal, nuclear and the list goes on. secondarily, as it relates to
hydraulic fracturing, the amount of chemical as you've just stated is very miniscule compared to the water volume and the sand that goes down because that's what's used to create the pressure to crack the rock. when you talk about impacts on water tables, a lot of people don't realize most of your water tables are somewhere between 150, 400 feet near the surface. when we drill virtually, let's talk about pennsylvania, we're down about 8,000 feet. geologists will tell you it is virtually impossible for anything that we're doing down at that depth to migrate up the water tables and that's why as lisa jackson, the obama administration -- administrator of e.p.a. has testified twice, that there has been no contamination of groundwater as a result of hydraulic fracturing. that's a fact. there are people out there who would like to create fear and misunderstanding because their fundamental view is we shouldn't be producing or consuming fossil fuels. but let's talk about the facts and as long as we stick to the facts we can have a good robust discussion about what the
energy policy should be. but it shouldn't be injected with fear and misunderstanding. that doesn't lead to a constructive debate, that just leads to polarization. host: in florida, a republican caller. caller: good morning. what an interesting show. i'd like to ask you a question regarding the law that requires corn-based ethanol to be used in motor fuel when there is a new technology from a corporation called t.c.x. that uses coal or natural gas to make ethanol at approximately half the cost of the current corn-based program without any government subsidies. wouldn't that make sense? guest: it might. i'm not familiar with the particular technology you're talking about. but let me say there's a variety of forms of different
alternative reknuble forms of energy that are out there. and the marketplace drives the development of those. you talk about corn-based ethanol, one of our concerns today is a reknuble fuel standard that was created is unworkable. we've just learned this in the past couple of months. there was a petition to the environmental protection agency saying it's driving up the cost of food and feed for cattle and a number of other reasons due to drought in the midwest and we should wave that requirement for a year -- waive that requirement for a year. the e.p.a. denied. that we believe the current law under the renewable fuel standard is unworkable and is broken. it needs to be changed. there's broad support in the congress to say, let's get back to a free market approach as it relates to energy. we believe that is the best approach. we shouldn't pick winners or losers. the government has an appropriate role in basic r&d. basic research and development. but not to go out and to pick a particular company or a
particular technology. let the market drive those because to your point, and again i'm not familiar with that technology, but new technologies will emerge because the market will incentivize those to emerge and to begin to displace some of the other fuel forms or to add to the mix so we truly have an all-of-the-above strategy. host: here is a twitter. when are we going to see a compressed natural gas filling station for our vehicles? guest: today as you know we have a number of fleets who have moved to c.n.g. compressed natural gas in their vehicles. individual groups, particularly companies that started at a central location and go out on their task or their drives each day and come back when they can fuel. the reason we see that there now is because the cost of the fill stations and all is quite costly. and so i believe over time you'll see filling stations more and more scattered across the country. i expect you'll see various perhaps trucking routes on mainly interstates that will
know which truck stops will have the ability to create compressed natural gas for their vehicles. but once again the reason this is a very real opportunity today is because of the vast production of natural gas in the united states has driven the price down to where it's now very competitive with the petroleum products, gasoline. host: pennsylvania, independent line. john. caller: hello. i would like to ask mr. gerard a question. we import most of our oil from the middle east. we have more oil than what we need right here in this country. and i sent a proposal to mitt romney where i feel energy could really save our country and do a lot for this country. and i would like to get in touch with mr. gerard probably after this program about a proposal that i made and they did hear about, the congressman
south jersey brought into the congress in washington and washington, this congresswoman took it and mailed it to mitt romney. of course mitt romney lost the election. and this president is against drilling oil. and i don't know why. we give all this oil to the middle east and we bring it here and we refine it here and it creates no more pollution than if we dug our own oil and used this money to pay our national debt and a lot of other problems in this country. host: ok. guest: a couple quick things. i'm happy to visit with you about these things. after the show we can give you my email address if you'd like to send me a note. secondarily though i think it's important to understand, our number one trading partner for energy, oil and natural gas is canada. a lot of people don't realize that. but they are dominant in that relationship. and will continue to grow that relationship with things like the keystone x.l. pipeline.
that's one of the other reasons we think that's a very important decision to be made by the president, to approve the keystone pipeline. because it further enhances that positive relationship we have with the canadians. but you're absolutely right. fundamentally we could be producing our own oil and natural gas right here on our shores, employeing our people, creating millions of dollars in revenue and making this more energy secure. so we're very supportive of that approach. in addition to a true all-of-the-above where you pick up other renewable forms of energy to compliment that demand. the demand in the united states for energy is only increasing. it's expected to go up another 15% to 20% over the next two decades. so we've got to get that energy from someplace. we're strong believers we ought to do it right from our own shores where we have control over the process and put our people to work in doing so. host: we'll go to john next in -- sorry, that was john. our produce already get his number for you. we'll go to joe in tennessee. democratic caller. go ahead.
caller: i have some questions. if there's so much energy out there and we have so much, why do the oil companies keep selling it off and shipping it overseas instead of keeping it for future generations here? guest: first of all, we consume -- we produce and refine and consume what we need right here in the united states today. , so don't be confused by the amount of export. there is some export taking place today because we've oversupplied the marketplace. but that's relatively small compared to what's produced and consumed right here in the united states. we need to look at that longer term. first we need to focus on making ourself self-sufficient. today we still import about 40% of our energy, particularly our crude oil. that varies dependent upon how you quantify that number but today it's less than 50%. and ultimately we can get it down to a very small amount. in fact, it's estimated that in working with our friends to the north in canada, our number one trading partner, we could be energy self-sufficient right here in north america in the
course of a decade. 10 to 12 years. that's a big deal. that really changes, as one of the major newspapers of the united states reported, it would literally change the geopolitical dynamic of the world, particularly the middle east. because a lot of that energy is a major consumer would come from our own shores and would change that balance of power around the world. host: natalie on twitter asks, a national oil exchange can be created. why not go that route if this supply is so massive? guest: today one might suggest we have a national oil exchange in place called the free market. that's the way the free price is determined. so by and large through the market mechanisms there is a global price set on crude oil as many people know and that's why our focus should be on the supply side of that equation. we can't control the demand coming out of china, india and other parts of the developing world. we can't control a lot of the
unrest in the middle east, that tends to contribute to the spike in prices or the volatility in prices. what we can control is how much we produce and contribute to that global marketplace. and that's why as an industry we believe that's where our focus should be. that's the one variable we have some control over and by producing other own, we hope we will put downward pressure on the price. host: since we've oversupplied the marketplace at home, would you say that the obama administration has been friendly to big oil? guest: we have some disagreements with the obama administration. most of what's occurred over the past few years to get us to our higher levels of oil and natural gas production have all occurred on private and state land. the congressional research service in a report just a few months ago reported that 96% of all the new development in the united states for oil and natural gas has been on private state land. the president, the administration has control over federal lands.
that's where we believe we've missed the opportunity. production coming out of the gulf of mexico, off of our coast today, is down over where it was expected to be at this time. preventing lease sales in the rocky western mountain states is down over where it used to be. that's the policy changes that we need. but we begin to look at the federal land in the equation, the same as the private state lands have been looked at, and we try to develop a mechanism or a regulatory regime to encourage the development of all that energy resource in a positive way that protects the environment and the work force. host: we're talking about national parks, land that's in some sort of conservatorship? guest: no, not at all. all the national parks and set-aside special areas would not be part of this contribution. it's the vast areas of other federal lands that are out there that we believe should be looked at for oil and gas development. host: how much oil and gas is there? guest: millions of barrels and trillions of cubic feet of gas.
host: how do we know? guest: if industry is given the opportunity to look, it's actually industry that finds that. the federal government doesn't know how much they have. and the way they find out is they lease the land to the private sector, we invest our capital, we take the risk, so the taxpayers' not at risk, but we pay for the right to look, we pay for the right to hold that lease, to continue to look, and then we pay a royalty on everything we produce. it's a triple win for the government. that's why we can't understand why the policy doesn't take us there. because we don't put the taxpayers' dollars at risk. we put private sector dollars at risk but if we're able to succeed we employee employ people, we generate billions in revenue to the government at the same time. so to us it's really a no-brainer. it should be a simple policy that drives us in the direction of economic recovery. host: kelly in montana, a republican caller out there. go ahead. caller: howdy. i just want all the democrats who are bitching about all this stuff to really stop.
because around this time i see what's going on out here. and there's a lot of drilling going on. and not only does it employ a lot of people, it keeps this whole town, these towns around here alive. if it wasn't for these oil companies that are doing such bad things, then these little towns would literally dry up and probably not exist. so, when i hear people griping about these oil companies that are so bad, that are doing so much good for these little towns. and all across our nation. host: do you work in the industry? caller: i do not. but i work on a cattle ranch. and my boss, he really has to rely on the oil. and the prices keep going up. it's really tough for him. if it wasn't for these people that are doing all this, we'd
be in trouble. if the prices get too out of hand, then the price falls on me. i'll lose my job. host: kelly's sentiment is echoed in the front page of "u.s.a. today" d with their headline, wealth rises in u.s.a.'s heartland. it says but contrast smalltown america is better off than before. inflated-adjusted income is up 3.8% per person since 2007 for the 51 million in small cities, towns and rural areas due to the energy boom in these states. guest: it's really amazing what's taking place, when we hear comments like kelly's. i think most of us wish we could live in montana where he is. we envy where he is today. there's something else that's taking place which shouldn't be overlooked. and that's the multiplier effects that take place in the economy, as kelly touched on. today we're talking about a manufacturing renaissance in the united states. that's driven primarily by oil and natural gas, specifically natural gas development. because when we have affordable
energy here at home, that's the number one cost they have or what we call the input cost. a lot of people don't realize but chemical companies, petrochemical plants, etc., their primary form of feed stock is natural gas. so they take natural gas and they convert it to all forms of products that we consume every day. from our clothing to our plastics and our cars that make them more energy efficient, the cosmetics, the list goes on. but natural gas is the driver. so as we have affordable, clean-burning natural gas in the united states, we're able to bring back major manufacturing facilities. we've already heard the announcement of two or three that will take place in the upper midwest and those are being driven by energy policy. that's why it's so important we get the energy policy right, we produce it here so these companies can have confidence, they'll have an affordable form of energy for many years to come, it will be reliable and they will make multibillion-dollar investments to bring back our manufacturing base. it's a big deal for us.
host: what regulations would you be open to, your organization, open to that would give environmentalists confidence that the hydraulic fracking, what is used for natural gas, that that is safer? guest: a couple things. we need to keep in mind there are many groups out there like the sierra club who have launched a campaign that says, beyond natural gas. their goal is not to produce natural gas in the united states. so it's difficult to appease or satisfy them because they fundy don't want the production of the resource. those who are willing to work with us, we believe we can find balance to address any concerns that are raised. the water issues. today the states where we're producing the resource have regulated the water issues. we think we need to be careful that we don't overregulate the activity. today the federal government has 10 different departments or agencies looking to regulate this technology. it's already being regulated at the state level.
the governors, democrats and republicans, are saying, hey, washington, we're doing this well. we live in these communities. we know how to regulate these industries, to protect our communities. don't overreach. we run the risk, if it gets too overarching in terms of its regulatory regimes, you chill the basic economic activity you're trying to create. that's where we've got to be careful to strike that fine balance. host: all right, jack gerard, thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> we'll take you live to the floor of the u.s. house for votes on a few bills. er. h.r. 5997, by the yeas and nays. and concurring in the senate amendment to h.r. 915, by the yeas and nays. the first electronic vote will be conducted as a 15-minute vote. remaining electronic votes will be conducted as five-minute votes. the unfinished business is the
vote on the motion of the the gentleman from florida, mr. bilirakis ks to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 5997 as amended, on which the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 5997, a bill to amend the homeland security act of 2002 to codify authority under existing grants authorizing use of urban area security initiatives and state homeland security grant funding program for enhancing medical capabilities. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill as amended. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: on this the vote the yeas are 397, the nays are one. 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the unfinished business is the vote on the motion from the gentleman from texas, mr. mccaul, to suspend the rules and concur in the senate amendment to h.r. 915 on which the yeas and nays were ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 915, an act to establish a border enforcement and security task force program to enhance border security by fostering coordinated efforts among federal, state and local border and law enforcement
officials to protect united states border cities and communities from transnational crime. including violence associated with drug trafficking, armed smuggling, illegal alien trafficking and smuggling, violence and kidnapping along and across the international borders of the united states and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and concur in the senate amendment? members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from mississippi, mr. palazzo seek recognition? for what purpose? mr. palazzo: address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. recognized for one minute. let me see if we can quiet it down a bit. if you have conversations, please take them somewhere else other than the chamber. mr. palazzo: it is an honor to stand before you to recognize
chairman hall and his work as the oldest-serving member of congress. over the last two years, i have had the honor of serving with chairman hall in the science, space and technology committee. chairman hall has been an inspiration and metropolitanor to me. he has been a crucial force in keeping nasa on track and pushing for a strong american space program. we have had the opportunity to work on space bills such as the recent indemnification bill that passed unanimously back in september. he doesn't want anyone else to forget, another reason, he never forgets those back home who he represents. he is a text ann through and through. chairman hall tells me is willing to forgive people who aren't from texas -- >> the house is not in order. the speaker pro tempore: the house will come to order.
the gentleman will continue. mr. palazzo: chairman hall always tells me he is willing to forgive people who aren't from texas, but he has been good to me and that's probably because i married a text ap myself. finally, i know at your age, you don't like the word final, but in closing, i want to say the no-nonsense way you have led the space, science and technology committee and put people above politics without compromising your principles, that's the kind of leader you are and the kind of leader we should all strife to be. i thank you for your many years of service, your model of leadership and for being so kind to all the members who aren't from texas. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the
members are reminded that you make your remarks directed to the chair and not anyone else. for what purpose does the gentlelady from texas, ms. jackson lee seek recognition? ms. jackson lee: ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. mr. speaker, the house is not in order. the speaker pro tempore: let's take a minute and see if they quiet down. the gentlelady is recognized. ms. jackson lee: today is a good day. we get to honor a great and magnificent american, my friend, our friend, ralph hall. in the moments and minutes and
hours to come, there will be many that will rise to recognize the extraordinary public service . but i want to add in addition to the extraordinary public service, a man that has seen numbers of presidents and as an american, worked, spoke and achieved under all of them, ralph hall today is the oldest member of congress and the oldest house member known to cast a vote on the house floor. that is not his only definition, for he is one that has a heart, that recognizes the value of service to the american people. he loves his great state of texas. he is truly a tall text ann, a faithful public servant, dedicated 32 years of service representing the constituents of the 4th congressional district, but he started his life by his
service to the united states in the united states military, the united states navy. yes, 1942. so he has seen this nation in her ups and downs, but ralph hall has never been down. what a great leader of the science and technology committee, what an opportunity to serve with him. what a servant as he worked with president johnson, making difficult and tough decisions, not a partisan, but a lover of america. yes, i can stand here today and say not only is this great hero an american and member of the united states congress, young in age, but old in numbers, wise, dedicated, but i can also say he is a lover of his family, his late wife, his children and grandchildren. i was able to join him on a time when he had to visit a grandchild. i was glad to be able to have ralph in our city not for the
cause that he was, but to be able to say ralph, you are a friend and we stand with you during this time. mr. speaker, i rise today to pay tribute to an american hero and also a friend and great leader on this floor, someone that i worked years and years and years of service. i join others to say, thank you, ralph hall, for the friendship, leadership and courage, and yes, you are an american hero. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will remind all persons in the gallery that they are here as guests of the house and that any manifestation of approval or disapproval of proceedings or other audible conversations is in violation of the rules of the house. i know you'd like to applaud but you just can't do it.
for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee rise? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to also honor my friend, ralph hall. i came to this great house as a result of an election in 2010 and was privileged to be assigned to the science, space and technology committee. the chairman was ralph hall. chairman hall showed me kindness, i went to his office, he showed me the airplanes he flew in world war ii. he told me stories about playing baseball with ted williams in the navy in world war ii. truly this is a great man. he has shown both sides of the aisle fairness and compassion in sis service as tchareman --
in his service as chairman and has mentored me. and when i asked him to come to my beloved city of tennessee, he came and visited our great national lab there. mr. fleischmann: i honor chairman hall today and thank him for his great service to this house as chairman and as my friend. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from texas, mr. smith, is recognized for 60 minutes and is the designee of the majority leader. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and submit extraneous materials for the record on the topic of this special order. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. smith: mr. speaker, the purpose of tonight's special order is to celebrate our
friend and colleague, ralph hall's distinguished service in congress. if there were a congressional hall of fame, tonight would be representative hall's induction as the oldest, some would say the most seasoned, voting member in the house of representatives. as members of congress, we had the distinct honor of serving the american people. each day as a representative can be both challenging and rewarding. and though we sometimes make headlines we do not always make history. that is why today is especially important. today is a day for the history books. after 32 years of service, congressman ralph hall today became the eldest member of congress to cast a vote in the house of representatives. and on christmas day of this year representative hall will become the oldest member of the house to have ever served in our nation's history. they say that with age comes wisdom. so congressman hall may be also the wisest man to have served
in the house of representatives. they also say that some things get better with age. in representative hall's case, his commitment to both his country and his constituents just continues to increase. since he was 19 years old, ralph hall has led a life of service for which we can all be grateful. as a lieutenant in the navy during world war ii, chairman hall served as a pilot and since then he has never hesitated to accomplish a mission. in fact, he recently was back up in the air, following the lead of another great texan, president george h.w. bush, ralph hall parachuted out of an airplane this past august, proving he's never afraid to jump right in. that mentality has made him a distinguished member of congress and a very effective chairman of the science, space and technology committee. congressman hall represents the fourth district of texas which is -- has only elected three members of congress in the last 100 years.
his constituents back in northeast texas are accustomed to electing strong leaders and keeping them there. it was 100 years ago this month that this district elected a young farmer turned state representative named sam raburn who went on to serve in the house for the next half century. ralph hall knew and worked with sam rawburn early in his career when ralph hall was a county judge. he was elected to that position while he was still in law school. earlier today we had the privilege of unveiling a new portrait memizing his tenure as chairman of the science committee. it was fitting that the ceremony took place in the rawburn office house building. throughout his tenure, ralph hall has been an advocate for scientific refrpbl and development. he has been ally of small businesses and has worked tone sure business owners are not unnecessarily burdened by excessive e.p.a. regulations.
ralph hall has fostered programs to better understand extreme weather and to make sure citizens are prepared for natural disasters esm also has worked to advance science education in programs that promote medical energy and technological breakthroughs to benefit future generations. throughout his time in congress, chairman hall has served this institution with style and humor. back home you would be hard-pressed to find a constituent who hasn't been given an all for hall from rockwall in case penny that was a fixture of his campaign going back to his first race. his constituent service is second to none. which is a large part of why he's had no difficulty in getting re-elected back home. no matter how his district lines have changed over the past three decades. in washington, to this day, he still gives his constituents more white house tours personally than any other member of the house. it is an honor to work with ralph hall as both a colleague
and a friend. ralph hall has always said, i'd rather be respected at home than in washington. actually he has achieved that rare combination of both. we thank ralph hall for his service to the congress and to our country. mr. speaker, before i recognize other members of congress here tonight, i just want to remind us all that this special order is only an hour long and given the number of people from whom we have had requests to speak, we're going to ask each person who does speak to limit themselves to two minutes or less so we'll have time not only for the members who want to speak but to also hear from ralph hall at the end of this special order. having said that, i'm pleased to yield to the gentleman from texas, congressman joe barton, who is the second most senior member of the texas delegation. mr. barrett: thank you, chairman smith. and -- mr. barton: thank you, chairman smith. could i be alerted when my two minutes is up? could somebody do?
i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. barton: there are many ralph hall stories, most of which we can't really tell on the house floor. that's how funny they are. but i want to tell one real true ralph hall story which is the epitome of a texan. several years ago ralph told me that he had some property up over in his district and he didn't have time to go visit it. he been involved in a bank and apparently the bank had taken control of the property and somehow ralph had gotten control of the bank's assets legally. so anyway it was his property but he never had time to go visit it. he had a caretaker who was taking care of his property. he began to get letters from the railroad commission down in austin. the railroad commission is in charge of oil and gas leases and royalties for the state of texas.
and they kept saying in these letters asking where to send royalty checks and he finally called down and says, i don't have any oil and gas wells. what are you talking about? and he said, well, in such such a platt and such such a account, you're the listed owner of this producing oil well. and so ralph took time one weekend to drive up by himself and sure enough there was a producing oil well on some property that he did not know about. obviously he made a change in who was his care taker at that property. but that was one true ralph hall story that shows the epitome of being the texan that he is. i first got to know ralph back in 1985 when i was a freshman on the science and space committee and ralph was subcommittee chairman of the space subcommittee. since that time he and i have become good friends. he is the epitome of a true texas gentleman. he is the most well-liked person in the congressional
delegation, not just from texas, but from the entire congress. and i am very honored to be one of the few that gets to speak on what a great man he is. we're so glad that he's still in the congress. so, ralph hall, we love you, we hope you serve for another 10 to 20 years. and continue to be an inspiration to the fourth district of texas. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, sam johnson, a true texas hero. mr. johnson: thank you. you know, ralph's district adjoins mine. he and i have represented the same area in collin county for many years. and ralph just one of a kind. one of the nicest guys i've ever known. it's a privilege to recognize my fellow texan and good friend. for the many years of outstanding service to our country and to the great state
of texas. ralph is a man of great integrity whose steadfast commitment of service to our nation is to be commended. ralph and i have known each other a long time. and i'm lucky to have him as a neighboring friend. don't have a better friend or ally in the congress. i want to congratulate ralph on reaching this milestone. you know, he was in the united states navy and he fought for our country in world war ii and then when we got back up where we do an event every year in mckinnie, texas, he was kind of mad at me because i jumped out of an airplane five times and he hadn't jumped out of one. so he decided he was going to jump out of one just so he could come to that meeting and tell us he did it. and he did. so he is still a great patriot.
he lives and breathes america. i look forward to many more years with ralph hall. thank you, i yield back. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from texas, eddie bernice johnson, who is ranking member of the science committee of which ralph hall is the chairman. ms. johnson: thank you very much. i rise today in honor of congressman ralph hall. who is the dean of our texas congressional delegation. and a lifelong public servant from the state of texas. and i will ask unanimous consent to just have my statement printed and make a few extraneous remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. johnson: thank you. i don't know that i have a better friend in this body than ralph hall and our relationship goes all the way back to the
texas legislature. when i first went to the texas house back in 1972. he was a part of the senate. and i still have a little penny that is encircled in a little silver band that says, ralph hall of rockwall. and i've always kept it as something special. because is he a very special person to me. when he switched parties and -- in 2004, and i've said this before, i tried to call him several times and i didn't get a response. so i finally said, just, i'm going to leave this message. tell him i still love him. and 30 seconds he called me back. and i really meant that. i meant it then, i mean it now. because party has never been anything that separated
friendship and he's a perfect example of that. his sense of humor has been so useful on the committee that often it's used to make witnesses more comfortable or to break some of the partisan bickering. . he is unique in this body. i want to submit my statement and thank you very much for the time. mr. smith: i yield two minutes to the the gentlewoman from texas, kay granger. ms. granger: like all the members that are speaking tonight, i'm very honored to pay tribute to our friend, ralph hall. and thank you for organizing this very well deserved tribute. congressman hall served his country as an aircraft carrier pilot in world war ii.
as the oldest member of congress to cast a recorded vote, the oldest member of this house, congressman hall has a long distinguished career behind him. more important than the longevity of his service, however, is the incredible dedication and commitment to his constituents that he has shown in his service. congressman hall has repeatedly earned the trust and respect of voters of north texas, who elect him to his first political office 62 years ago and have been sending him back with overwhelming support for 32 years. all along the way in every office he served, congressman hall has made texas proud and continued to do so as chairman of the science, space and technology committee. serving with ralph has been a true honor and i look forward to continuing to serve with him well into the future.
mr. smith: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. pete sessions, the next chairman of the rules committee. mr. sessions: thank you very much. tonight we rise in support of the favorite son of rockwall, texas, the honorable ralph hall. and i think of so many wonderful stories about ralph. tonight, you'll hear many of them, mr. speaker, of the texas delegation, of the life and times as we not only try and gather together every week, but also work together. one of my favorite stories about ralph hall took place with a young woman, kay granger. one night, kay granger, member of congress and myself, this is probably 12 or 13 or 14 years ago, met ralph at the brand new
reagan airport. and we sat doub down for a flight that got delayed 35, 40 minutes and about an hour and a half later, american airlines said, the flight left about 30 minutes ago, do you want to have dinner with us. and we looked up with each other and we missed the flight and that is because ralph hall was telling the funniest stories of taking time with kay granger and i, sitting around a small table a at reagan airport and he was doing more than just telling stories. what ralph was really trying to do was to mentor kay granger and pete sessions on not the life and times of ralph hall, but to talk about citizenship and of service and of benefit to people. and he talked about how he, in his personal life, lived his life for the benefit of other
people. and from that day forward, i learned more about ralph hall and have continued to want to hear him and tell the stories every time. it is about how you can better your life, about how you can look at what your service and your time and the things that you do, it's about other people, not yourself. and ralph hall, for all the years that i am sure he has served whether it was as a state senator or a county judge or a distinguished member of congress, ralph has done so for others. ralph comes and goes every single weekend. i have never spent a weekend in 16 years that i have been a member of congress and i'm sure ralph, the time he has been here, since the early 1980's. mr. speaker, ralph hall is an important and distinguished
member of this body and he has brought distinction, not just to the texas delegation and not just to the people he represents, but i think to all of america as a statesman, a man who gets his work done, not to put himself forward, but to put others. i think he is a model of success. he is a model of somebody that i want to become more like. but i will tell you what. if we will take the time tonight, those of my colleagues who have not known him to watch the way ralph does it, he does it today the same way he came here, and that is a legacy of ralph hall, a great member of congress and one of my colleagues. i'm proud and pleased to be here tonight for the honorable ralph hall. i yield back. mr. smith: i yield two minutes to congressman culberson.
mr. culberson: our good name is our valuable possession on earth and ralph hall is one of the welftiest men in america. he has earned the trust of his constituents over and over again as he has earned the trust of his colleagues because we know that ralph hall always keeps his word. ralph hall always does what's right for america. he does the right thing for the right reason on every occasion and he understands that his service in congress is for his fellow man, just as he served us in uniform in our armed forces. ralph serves here as he served as county judge and state senator for the benefit of texas, for the benefit of america and it's an extraordinary privilege for me to serve with him, to look to ralph hall as a mentor, as a friend, as a colleague, as a fellow text ann to honor him one of the great persons to serve the state of texas.
we thank him for his service for the nation and the great state of texas. mr. smith: i yield two minutes two minutes to jeb hensarling, the next chairman of the financial services committee. mr. hensarling: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise today in great honor to recognize my friend and fellow texan being the oldest member of congress to cast a vote on the house floor. not often that i recognize someone with such a long, long, long, very long history of service to our country. everyone in this institution knows that ralph's passion in this institution is science and space technology. represents the area of the committee he now chairs. when i came here, i asked why is
ralph such an expert in science? and someone said, well, you may not know it, but he was there when columbus discovered the earth was round and newton discovered gravity and franklin discovered electricity. mr. speaker, they say that imtation is the greatest form of flattery, and this was a poor attempt on my part to show how ralph hall brightens this institution every day with his humor. he is clearly the witnessiest member of congress in a body that is in desperate need to be brightened up and benefited by such great witt and humor. besides his witt and humor, he is the wisest men to serve in this body and i benefit from
that wisdom as do so many others. mr. speaker, we heard earlier that ralph said i would rather be respected at home and liked in washington, not only is he respected in rockwall, texas, he is beloved in rockwall, texas and not only is he liked in washington, more importantly, he is respected in washington, and more importantly, he is respected by both republicans and democrats alike, and that, mr. speaker, is a huge, huge testament. so, mr. speaker, i'm honored to recognize a texas legend, a world war ii veteran, a statesman, a role model for all american citizens, including my children. i'm honored to recognize him on this historic occasion. i'm honored to recognize this institution for this historic moment, but most of all, i'm honored to call ralph hall my
friend. i yield back. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, michael burgess. mr. burgess: i thank the gentleman for the recognition. i don't want to say ralph hall has been here for a long time, but he was here when the earth cooled the first time. when i was a freshman member of congress, you were on the other side of the aisle you were the ranking member ink democrat on the science committee and certainly your ability to get your way was something i marveled because we had the votes, but you had the way of getting things done and i lost the ability to -- i was getting ralph to co-sponsor whatever bill i had up there and then ralph switched sides on me and i
wasn't able to utilize that any longer. i have to tell you, ralph, one of the profiles in courage i will always remember -- i hadn't been here three months, the first budget vote that i had lived through and it was a pretty wild night. it went on late. the budget was kind of going back and forth with not enough votes to past and then it had enough and people switched. at the end, ralph hall came down this very aisle to this table and cast the deciding vote in favor of the republican budget. at the time, he was a democrat. our country had just gone to war, the president needed the support of the house of representatives and to ralph that was an important vote to cast and honestly, i will never forget that profile in courage that you showed that night and how you put country above party and above self and made that sacrifice.
it has been an honor to serve with you. we ride back and forth on that darn plane every week and it is a testament on your ability to not just serve here in washington, but take care of your folks at home. ralph, it has been an honor to serve with you. mr. smith: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, john carter. mr. carter: it is an honor to step up tonight and talk about ralph hall, the oldest member to cast a vote on this floor. texas has seen an awful lot of changes in this place over the years and shared resources and we are a state of resources and shared our resources. and when we share ralph hall, we share one of our national treasures, one of text -- text
as's treasures. -- texas' treasures. when i think about ralph hall, it's amazing. people who don't really know him in texas think they know him. because they know his reputation. he puts everything above himself and all partisanship aside and does what's right for the country. i have watched him as a democrat and watched him as a republican. a national treasure, i would like to talk about the fact that we need to be nice to each other. and ralph hall is what we say every texan, a man who will look
you straight in the face and look you in the eye and keeps his word. that's the definition that we cherish. he is the man that fits that definition because he can look you in the eye and tells you he is going to do something, he is going to do it. even more importantly, to be a person who has charm and grace and humor and the ability to make your day brighter every time you see him, i don't know of anybody in my life i ever met who has that talent like ralph hall. that makes him a treasure. god bless you, ralph. mr. smith: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, randy neugebauer. . mr. neugebauer: thank you. i rise to talk about ralph hall. one of the things about ralph is that he is like the ever-ready bunny.
he's up just about every morning, pretty early, walks, but most of the time you'll see him down at the white house, about 7:30, letting some constituent in for a white house tour or in some cases taking that constituent for a tour. the thing about ralph is he's never interested in ralph, he's always just interested in you. if you walk up to ralph during that conversation it's going to come out, what can i do for you? what do you need? how can i help you? what ralph has done for all of his life is served. he understands that the roles that he's been allowed to serve in were really roles of servanthood and he is the ultimate servant. it's a delight to be around him. i've enjoyed serving on the house science committee with
him. sometimes there will be adversarial conversations in a committee hearing but ralph has always a way to bring levity sometimes when levity is needed. now the question is, is when i woke up one morning here just a few months ago and i read in the paper, ralph hall jumps out of airplane. now that would shock some people but i guarantee you it didn't shock anybody in the texas delegation because we know when ralph wants to make a point, he just goes ahead and made the point. now the question is, you've got this guy that gets up at 7:00 in the morning, is down at the white house, he jumps out of airplanes, he goes back and forth to dallas every weekend. and the question, ralph, that all of us want to know is what kind of vitamins are you taking? because we all want to be on whatever diet that you're on. but what i wanted to say about ralph tonight is, you know, i don't -- ralph is a congressman to many people and the people in rockwall. but to all of us, ralph hall is our friend. and we're very proud of our friend and we're very proud to have the opportunity to serve with a great man like ralph
hall. my ralph hall story is we were celebrating one of his birthdays on a thursday, the texas republican delegation has lunch every thursday and somebody brought a birthday cake in, they brought the cake in and i think we had a candle there and we just had one to kind of commemorate all of the years, the fire marshall wouldn't let us bring all the rest of them, sorry, ralph. but he was making light of his birthday and he looked at us and said, you know what the worst thing that somebody can say to you on your birthday? is don't you look natural? but what we know is that ralph hall is not a natural person. he's a supernatural person. and, ralph, we love you and we appreciate the opportunity to serve with you. god bless you and god bless the united states of america. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, mike conaway. mr. conaway: thank you, mr. smith. mr. speaker, thank you for the recognition. i too want to add my
congratulations and prideful acknowledgment of ralph hall's long service. you've heard the long list of his accomplishments and his service. ralph represents the folks in northeast texas ably and well, including my alma mater, texas a&m at commerce. he is a terrific individual. i am at constant awe of his quick wit and storytelling ability. he's never at a loss for some remark or response to whatever is going on that just makes you want to laugh out loud. that is a rare talent. one that i would love to have but don't. and i am in awe of his quick wit and wisdom. i'm also in awe of his gentle spirit and kindness that he represent -- that he expresses to every single individual. it is deep-seated and heartfelt and genuine and real and those of us who have the honor and privilege of serving with ralph hall understand it and bask in it on every single occasion. so i would simply like to add
my congratulations and heartfelt admiration to serve with ralph hall and to be able to say that when i write about whatever i did in congress, one of the lives in there that i had the honor and privilege of serving with ralph hall at a time when he was at his best. ralph, congratulations. i yield back. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, ted poe. mr. poe: i cha are thank the chairman for yielding time. thank you for sponsoring this special order. where we can as a body recognize our friend and fellow texan, chairman ralph hall. mr. speaker, we texans are proud of our state. we're proud of our heritage. and we're proud of the people that have been in our state. texans have a long history of remarkable texans in our history. men and women with -- i shall call it the personality,
uniqueness, all the way back to general sam houston. and there are many others. but on that list will be and is chairman ralph hall. he is a person of personality. and character. and quite a character. he has not always been a republican. at one time he sat over here. he was a democrat. and he switched, got religion and came over and became a republican. but his principles have never changed. they have always been the same. whether he sat over here or whether he sat over here. he has always been a man of remarkable character and always voted his principles. he's a world war ii veteran. we have a special place in this country for veterans like him that served in the great world war ii. my dad served in world war ii.
he was on the other side of the world while ralph was flying off of aircraft carriers in the pacific. there's a special something about world war ii veterans. they understand american history, they understand the importance of our military and how it's important for us as a nation to always do two things. have a strong military and then support our veterans when they return home, where they return home as wounded warriors or whether they return home with the scars of war and some that return home in those caskets. ralph hall makes sure that we remember our veterans. he was a business owner, he ran for office because his wife wanted him to run for office. and mary ellen is responsible for him spending many years out on the campaign trail running for office. and as a chairman of the science committee, he's been a special fan of nasa. we in texas, we love nasa.
and when he learned, rumor has it, when he learned that the space shuttle was going to new york city instead of houston, texas, rumor is that he was trying to get a posse to go up to new york and bring that shuttle back to houston where it belonged. i do not know if that's true or not. but ralph hall loves america. he loves this body. he loves texas. but most of you will he loves the american people. and it's a great honor to be here to recognize you, a statesman, and the favorite son of texas, chairman ralph hall. and that's just the way it is. i yield back. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, louie gohmert. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. chairman. for yielding. it is an honor and privilege, pleasure, all three, to be here, pay tribute to our friend, ralph hall. i think i'm the only one that spoke that was actually
represented by ralph hall and so it's not my first testimonial for the gentleman from rockwall. and in fact in 2001 it looked like there was a new redistricting map, the legislature had come out with, and it was going to put my hometown of tyler in a different district and in my years on the bench i'd been concerned about some of the federal laws that were luring people into ruts they couldn't get out of, without any hope, and i thought about this when i first thought about running. but i knew and i said publicly, as long as ralph hall is my congressman, there's no need for me to run. i know that man. i know his heart. i know his convictions. not criminal convictions, i don't know of any of them. but i know the convictions of his heart and i know him to be a man of conscience and of moral, upright, decent man who had a wonderful wife and there
was no way there was a need for me to run as long as ralph hall was my representative. i was told by some republican leaders, look, he's a democrat, you ought to run against him anyway. and i said, no way. i couldn't do any better than ralph hall. i'm well respected. but in 2003, finally the legislature actually did redistricting and we ended up in a different district and i ran. but i'd been amazed not only by the incredible knowledge of science and technology and the workings of this body, but as others have alluded to, the sense of humor. one thing i've noticed, a lot of times around here, when people have a good joke, they just keep it to themselves. whereas ralph shares even funny material. we had a college coach here that was going to speak to a big group of members of congress and somebody told him, just start off with something funny.
and you'll be fine. and he was nervous. he said, i don't know anything funny. so ralph said, well, what would you like? he said, what about education? he said, ok, here's your joke. teacher tells a first grade kid they've got to come back and tell some family story that was told around the family and everybody in the classroom the next day had their story. littlejohny never raised his hand. finally she said, johnny, everybody's done their family store story but you, don't you have one? he said, do i have one, it's even got a moral but i don't know. and the teacher said, well, is it clean me? said, sure. go ahead and tell it. so johnny got up and said, well, my aunt katie was in the air force as a pilot and she got over hostile territory and my aunt katie always was prepared just for the worst, she had a bottle of whissky, a oozey and a .9 millimeter and a knife in the cockpit with her just in case something happened. sure enough she got hit.
she's going down, she ejects, drinks the bottle of whiskey real quickly and then sees all these enemy soldiers coming at her, wipes out a couple of dozens of them with the oozey, takes the .9 millimeter, wipes out 12 more and then hits the ground, three more come at her and she takes them out too. the teacher said, good grief. that's a family story? and you say it has a moral. and he said, well, i don't know if you'd call it a moral. but it's what everybody in our family knows. and that is when aunt katie's been drinking, you don't mess with her. and so anyway, i was impressed with that he shared that but more than anything, i'm proud to have shared time here and seen a true representative at work. it's been my honor. thank you, ralph, for all you've done. mr. smith: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, pete olson.
mr. olson: i thank my colleague and fellow texan for giving me a couple of minutes to talk about ralph hall. a man we all know, a man we all love. my focus is on some of the amazing events that have occurred during ralph hall's life. and brought him to his record-setting vote he cast earlier this evening. some might call it fate.
fate which is appropriate because ralph's dream to get here started in fate, texas, population 299. ralph was born there. on may 3, 1933. they ensured that ralph would have amazing brushes with history. one amazing brush with history ralph had occurred as a young teenager, pumping gas in rockwall, texas. ralph filled up a car of a couple, a man and a woman, very well dressed. ralph got a great tip, a quarter, the most, it w a